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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Creating the Fan Experience by Committing to Customer Success

How Karen Hogg is helping AudienceView do just that.

Karen Hogg comes to AudienceView to help lead its customer success operations.

Hogg has spent her career in software focused on operations and customer success. She met Mark Fowlie, the CEO of AudienceView, long before they were looking for someone to fill her role. At the time, Hogg was responsible for a customer success program at another software company and was always interested in meeting with other executives to learn their perspectives on customer success.

“Through networking, I had the opportunity to meet Mark. I was very impressed with him as a leader and his vision for customer success. When the time was right, I was invited to participate in the search and I’m happy to be here today.”

Defining Customer Success

Minnesota is a great use-case for the positive change AudienceView is helping with.

According to Hogg, customer success is proactively working with customers to help them achieve their business objectives by leveraging the AudienceView platform, through input into the roadmap and future direction of the product, and with their partner community. Bringing all those things together, Hogg and her team add value, helping increase the opportunity for customers to achieve their individual business objectives.

While each organization defines their own parameters around customer success, in sports, it’s ultimately all about the fans and the fan experience.

Those of us who cheer on our teams and student athletes, win or lose, and feel connected whether we attend every game or watch on TV from another city. Sports organizations must define how they want to engage their fans, build on their passion and, ultimately, monetize them.

A customer success strategy considers every aspect of the fan relationship, leverages technology to treat each fan as an individual and looks at all the ways organizations can make fans feel like they too are part of the team.

Driving Customer success through teamwork

It’s important to help create special moments that accelerate the fan experience and to empower your team to deliver.

“When departments work together, they can ensure that fans have a consistently amazing experience regardless of how they are interacting with your organization — from box office staff, fundraisers, ticket takers and concessions personnel all the way up to your athletics director.” — Karen Hogg

By leveraging technology, your entire staff can see fans as individuals, know their preferences and understand their history with your organization, as a fan, alumni, donor or season ticket holder. Technology can also ensure an incredible experience when fans are on your website getting information, picking up some team gear, buying seats for the next game or taking advantage of special offers and experiences.

Building a Success-Driven Culture

It’s about understanding the business objectives, what the customer or the organization is trying to do, and understanding how you can contribute value as a part of that process. It needs to be a win-win, whether that’s between the sports organization and their fan or between a vendor and their customers. If it’s too heavily one-sided, it is difficult for it to be successful.

“Adoption is also faster and more successful when key stakeholders — fans, employees and/or partners — have contributed to defining success.”

That way everyone has a vested interest in it. Customer success strategies help play a part in creating special moments for fans by leveraging differentiation and adding value, which reinforces that they’re part of a community and there’s something special to being part of that community. Although wins and losses are out of your control, as a sports professional, you can create a winning fan experience every single time that fan interacts with your brand.

Coming Together to Positively Influence the Fan Experience

According to Hogg, if departments are operating in silos, then you are not necessarily treating a fan as an individual, so they might be getting a different experience based on the department or staff member they are dealing with at any given time. If you bring everybody in an organization together and everybody is working with the same purpose, using the same technology and following the same processes, the fan gets the same experience whether he is dealing with someone at the box office, in concessions or in customer service.

“Creating a customer success driven culture is important, but rewarding and praising employees that highly contribute to that culture will help grow and sustain it.” — Karen Hogg

Fans have choices and they can choose to spend their time, energy and dollars in a number of different places. Whether that’s competing for a totally different kind of event, like a concert, or another sports team, they have an incredible number of choices. If they don’t feel that they are part of something different and special, and that there is value in being part of the community, then there is another community out there that would be anxious to have them and might even be actively seeking to embrace them. With social media, you can tap into communities 24–7, so if you’re not actively seeking to engage your fans, they have a choice and they could go somewhere else.

Building Better Relationships and Enhancing Fan Experiences

By bringing departments together, sports organizations can create a consistent fan experience no matter what part of the organization they are dealing with or how they are engaging with you. Understanding and leveraging innovative tools and technology, using a single platform and embracing partners that add value all contribute to a highly relevant experience for the fan — from the moment they visit your website to check out the dates of games all the way through to when they line up to get concessions at the venue on gameday. Every interaction needs to be smooth, enjoyable and customized to each individual fan.

Customers have a choice of where they want to go or where they could go and organizations need to make sure they’re being relevant and delivering something that sets them apart.

The Importance of Innovation

There are so many ways that technology is disrupting the fan experience and increasing the ways they can engage with their favorite team or players, be it newer social media channels like Snapchat or new ways that customer data is being leveraged to create more personalized experiences. By making fans feel connected to a team, organization or individual athletes, you are building excitement and fostering their passion. Happy fans spend money with your organization and serve as your biggest brand ambassadors.

Opportunities and Obstacles

Working with people and with customers, Hogg has had operations roles in the past that have been more internally focused. However, she prefers being on the front lines in terms of working with customers.

“The satisfaction of knowing that at the end of the day we are contributing to something that is driving an experience for their fans or returning value to their organization.”

Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day.

“When you are passionate about creating customer success, there are so many different opportunities to work with your customers to add value. I wish there was even more time to create the innovative experiences that we are helping our customers create for their fans.”

Front Office Sports is a leading multi-platform publication and industry resource that covers the intersection of business and sports.

Want to learn more, or have a story featured about you or your organization? Contact us today.


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